This fall we decided to take a break from our 2 years in the gymnastics program that Victoria loved and try something new…SOCCER! We tried soccer once before, but after that experience, felt that two years old, was a little too young. I think we swore off all organized team sports until she turned five because toddlers and team sports just don’t seem to mix well, or do they?
I was given the opportunity to do a social media partnership with Jump Start Sports and we decided to rethink the idea of holding off on organized team sports. Jump Start had a soccer program for 3 & 4 year olds called “The Hummingbird Soccer Program”. This program was once a week from 5:30 – 6:30pm for 6 weeks. The practices were held at Blueberry Hill Park in Franklin Park. At the first practice, Victoria received her “uniform” a green shirt and met her coaches. She was a little shy at first (shocking I know), but they were very friendly and she warmed up to Coach Roland and Coach Jen.
I loved that there were two coaches and you could tell they were very experienced with young kiddos. Every direction was fun and full of energy, the soccer drills were very relatable. The kids would “walk their dog”, play red light/green light, park the ball in “the garage” and many other fun ways to engage the kids in soccer drills. I also loved that there were plenty of water breaks, which was perfect for short attention spans! After about 30 minutes of soccer drills, the kids would divide up into four teams and each coach would run a soccer game, usually with about 5 vs. 5 per game. It took Victoria awhile to understand and become comfortable with the game part of practice. The games were the exact swarm of bees that you imagine when you hear of 3 year old playing soccer, all of them running to the ball, all at once. There are more boys than girls, so it took her by surprised that she got knocked down a few times, but by the end of the first game, she was starting to get the hang of it.
The coaches were very good about reminding the kids which goal they were trying to score in and allowing everyone a chance to start with the ball. There are not as many water breaks during the game portion of practice, so Victoria did become a little distracted (by her piney, airplanes or other balls on the field), but was easily redirected and it also helped that the world’s largest (at least to Victoria) sandbox was within view, because that was the BIG reward for a successful practice.
So, while she was not the perfect soccer player at every game, she did come a long way from her 2 year old soccer playing days, and the coaches’ enthusiasm and organization played a big role in her success. If we had the opportunity and it worked with our family schedule, we would most definitely do Jump Start Sports again. It was a great organization to be a part of and I am so glad they are in the Pittsburgh area. They offer a variety of different sports, I would love for her to try out t-ball someday. We were very happy with our experience with Jump Start Sports and would recommend this organization to friends and family. Thank You Jump Start Sports for giving us this fun opportunity!!!